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Buick adds premium Avenir trim level to Envision SUV for 2021

The Avenir trim level will be offered for the first time on the Envision.

Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick Envision is getting the premium treatment for the 2021 model year. The automaker, who didn't change much about the two-row SUV for 2020 after giving it a significant upgrade for 2019, will add the 2021 Buck Envision Avenir as an option for buyers.

The five-seater SUV is designed to compete against premium SUVs like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50. It's not designed with sporty dynamics or brisk acceleration like luxury SUVs from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.

"The all-new 2021 Envision is part of Buick's strategy to grow its family of premium SUVs," said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. "It joins the new 2020 Encore GX, which offers safety, functionality and styling tailored around the size and space preferences of today's small and compact SUV buyers."

2021 Buick Envision Avenir Typically, Avenir trim level models to not get performance upgrades. Photo courtesy of Buick

Think of Buick's Avenir grade like you do GMC's Denali models. Both brands use these designations for the most premium offerings within a product line.

Non-Avenir version of the Envision will be upgraded for 2021, getting a host of safety technologies including standard automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision assist, following distance indicator, rear park assist, safety alert seat, and a high-definition rearview camera.

Additionally, the model will be available with enhanced automatic parking assist, high-definition surround view imagery, front park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with blind spot alert, head-up display, and rear camera mirror.

The 2021 Envision will also offer Buick's first available 10-inch diagonal touchscreen infotainment system, and it will include in-vehicle apps, such as Amazon Alexa, Spotify, Pandora, and Fox Sports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

The model will keep its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 252 horsepower in the 2020 model. That engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Initial indications are that Buick will forego the 197-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is in the 2020 version.

2021 Buick Envision Avenir The Avenir trim gives the Envision its most premium design features yet.Photo courtesy of Buick

More details for the Envision, including for its Avenir trim, will be revealed later this year. the 2021 Buick Envision arrives in the U.S. in early 2021.

Pricing for the model has yet to be announced. The 2020 Envision starts at $36,995 and tops out just south of $50,000 when boxes to option it close to the offerings of 2021 model are checked. Expect the Envision Avenir to be priced north of that figure.

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The Subaru Crosstrek has been refreshed for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Long beloved for its zippy drivability and spacious cargo area, the Subaru Crosstrek is also just underpowered enough for some drivers to make it a non-starter. The automaker is now offering a 2.5-liter four-cylinder option for the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek.

Buyers can choose the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque or the 2.5-liter that is shared with the Forester and gets 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The car is mostly unchanged at the rear compared to the 2020 model and still just as capable. Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in most trim levels. The standard six-speed manual transmission in the Base and Premium grades is paired with the smaller engine. Models equipped with the CVT get Intelligent and Sport drive modes.

The larger engine gets 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The smaller engine, mated with the CVT, achieves 28 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. With the manual, the Crosstrek gets just 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined.

All models will continue to be sold with standard all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring technology. Base models get a Low Shift Mode for descending hills.

Models with the CVT come standard with a suite of Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. That suite now includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering (debuted on the 2020 Outback) in addition to automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure prevention, lead vehicle start alert, automatic start-stop, rear seat reminder, and SI-Drive.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The Crosstrek Sport features blacked out interior and exterior elements. The Crosstrek Limited is the most refined model. Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will start at $22,245, just a $100 increase over the price of the 2020 model.

Subaru is adding a Sport grade ($26,495) to the Crosstrek lineup for 2021. It, along with the Limited trim level ($27,995), comes standard with the larger engine. The Crosstrek Sport gets dual-function X-Mode, which also debuted on the Outback, and includes hill descent control with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud selectable settings.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will make its way to a dealership near you this summer.

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The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross takes its name from the beloved cars.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

I wasn't a big car guy growing up. Some kids can tell you the horsepower and engine and endless stats about every car on the road. Or they'll notice the difference in taillights between individual model years, or any of a million other nips and tucks that carmakers do to differentiate their cars.

These days, it's my job to know that stuff, but when I was in high school, I didn't know much — but I knew what a Mitsubishi Eclipse was. As I got ready to write this review, I went back and watched perhaps the most famous 90's-era Mitsubishi Eclipse you could find: Paul Walker's bright green ride in "Fast and the Furious".

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The car is more traditional up front than it is in the back.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The second-generation Eclipse, built from 1995 to 1999, was the best-known (and best-looking) of all the cars, and became a vehicular icon for my generation in no small part to the role it played in "Fast and the Furious". Though I remember the car, I'd forgotten how terrible this movie is. The dialogue is cringeworthy, the cars are absurd (how many gears does that thing have?), and the story is outlandish. But it's still a hoot, and I may end up rewatching the whole series.

But then in 2011, Mitsubishi ended the Eclipse line for good. Or so we thought. Now we have a new one, only the sporty looks and movie-star glamour is long gone. It's called the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and it's... a compact crossover SUV of no particular importance.

That might be a little harsh. It's actually quite an interesting looking vehicle, which is more than can be said for most crossovers. Though the front isn't particularly exciting, the rear has more going for it. There's a dual-window design on the rear tailgate, with a light bar running across the middle. It's very much a love-it-or-hate-it design, but at least it's not boring.

There's a crease running up the doors to the back as well, which looks particularly sharp on the Red Diamond review unit that Mitsubishi sent me for a week. It stickered for $32,720 on the SEL trim, though you can likely negotiate a nice chunk of change off of that at your local Mitsubishi dealer.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The touch screen is okay but the trackpad that is used to navigate it is detrimental.Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Feature-wise, the Eclipse Cross is well-equipped, with a tiny 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. That's not a ton of power, but for a family crossover it's plentiful and turns in a combined 25 miles per gallon.

Mine had the $2,100 Touring Package, which kicks in a lovely panoramic sunroof, the ever-important adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection and auto-braking, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, and some other minor additions.

If you look at the feature list, the Eclipse Cross is a solid vehicle. The interior design is a little rougher, with hard plastic everywhere and not-so-luxurious touch points. The trackpad to control the screen is terrible, as are the up/down buttons to control the dual-zone climate control (though the heated seats work excellently).

The infotainment screen could be bigger, and the dash screen needs some polish. The engine gets the job done, but it's not exactly quiet. It's a middle-of-the-road crossover. It does what it's supposed to do. You can get it for a good price and it's well-equipped.

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